Temporary server issues

April 2, 2018

3D Wayfinder has currently a server issue and our service is not working. The issue is with our Frankfurt data volume is down.

3D Wayfinder has currently a server issue and our service is not working at the moment. The issue is with our Frankfurt data volume which is currently down. Team at our service provider is working on the issue. You can read more info from:
https://status.digitalocean.com/incidents/8sk3mbgp6jgl

 

We are apologizing!

3D Wayfinder Team

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3D model converting problems partially fixed

November 8, 2017

In recent days, we were having problems with 3D model converter. These problems are partially fixed now, so converting non-corrupted 3D files shouldn’t cause any interruption anymore.

 

3D Wayfinder’s model file converter has stopped quite often lately, when converting corrupted 3D floor-plan files. Every time converter stopped, we had to start the process manually and clean the converting queue.
All 3D files are converted to JSON format, so they can be load in 3D Wayfinder. Our converter supports many 3D file formats, most common are FBX and DAE.
The problems were with couple of models, that caused invalid JSON when converting.
We have added error catching for this, so the rest of the converting process can resume and these corrupted models don’t interrupt other 3D models to be converted.
If converting of 3D floorplan model fails, you’ll get “ERROR” response in 3D Wayfinder Administration:

3D_model_converting_error

Other reasons, that 3D files couldn’t be converted are mainly caused by using non-UTF characters in mesh names.

 

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We are doing server maintenance

August 17, 2017

There might be problems with 3D Wayfinder application today, as we are moving application server to another data center.

Thanks to growing number of users, we need more storage place. So we are moving 3D Wayfinder application to another data center, which offers more flexible solutions for storage space. This causes some down-time for 3D Wayfinder application (Administration panel and application itself).

With our suggested kiosk setup, it shouldn’t be a problem for kiosk applications.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

 

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Keeping floor plan editor idle in the background

August 1, 2017

The new 3D Wayfinder Administration Panel is centered more around the floor plan editor. To provide better usability we keep the 3D editor idle when moving away to other pages, so switching between editor and other views is much faster now.

 

The new Administration Panel has been publicly available for testing since the beginning of this year. At the end of the summer we will only support the new administration panel. Although the current administration environment will be available for some time.

Loading the 3D floor plan editor takes a couple of seconds because we need to load 3D floor-plans models and also additional editor tools. Now when the editor is always in the background we do not need to load the 3D editor again. This makes the usage more faster and user friendly.

new 3D floorplan editor

Our new administrator panel is being built on Angularjs. To achieve loading of editor once we have created the service that holds the canvas element and is also attached our editor API to it. Controller then adds canvas to the editor view and provides connection to API actions.

To see and test new Administration panel and floor plan editor, please log in here. If you don’t have an account with 3D Wayfinder, you can create it here for free.

 

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Building Kiosk for 3D Applications

May 12, 2017

We have developed an interactive kiosk for 3D applications. The kiosk is equipped with a landscape LCD screen, a touch panel and a dedicated graphics card which makes it suitable for applications that require greater graphical computing capabilities.

Most of the modern kiosk hardware is made as thin as possible and in most cases kiosk hardware use small PC-s like Intel NUC’s or even USB stick like Intel Compute Sticks. This is enough for showing advertisements or 2D wayfinding plans, but for larger 3D applications these PCs tend to be too weak. For one of our latest projects we had a challenge to create a special kiosk, where we could put a regular size motherboard and graphics card. The outcome is quite impressive and we are definitely taking this 3D kiosk further so we can provide it to other customers also. It can be counted as first Gamers’ kiosk PC in the world.

 

kiosk_for_3D_applications

 

The kiosk is built on a metal frame, that supports the 8 mm tempered glass and holds the touch screen and computer hardware. The metal frame has enough weight and the screen is leaning back in a light angle. So it stays firmly on the ground and so there is no need to mount it to the floor.

3D_kiosk_metal_frame_supporting_LCD_touch-screen

For the computer we used regular PC components. The idea was to make the inside visible through the glass, so we put the emphasis on the looks of the components. We used components that had LED-lights so it would make a impressive light show. To place graphics cards separately, PCI Express riser cable was used. Common riser cables are white/grey color, but we needed the black one, so it would also look nice.

 

3D_kiosk_PC_with_GPU

 

In current kiosk we used ASUS B150 Pro Gaming motherboard with Intel Core i5-7400 CPU cooling with Antec Kühler H2O H1200 watercooling. Power supply is 700W Zalman 700TX. Graphics card is ASUS GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, but it was planned to upgrade GPU when needed.
After aligning all the components and making the cabling in proper way, we painted the plate black. It is important to fix and align all the cables, otherwise it wouldn’t look nice. Especially as the PC plate will be partly visible through the covering glass of the kiosk.

 

3D_kiosk_PC_plate_painted_black

 

Kiosk has 3 vents for blowing the air out from the bottom of the frame. On top of the kiosk we have also 3 vent openings, that are being used for air intake. It is possible to use there alsovents, but in current installation we just put there dust filter.

 

3D_kiosk_ventilation_holes_in_frame

 

Glass has been mounted to metal frame by special glass mountings. It is possible to paint the glass from both sides to make kind of 3D effect. In current case we used customer’s corporate design elements, which were lines. The background is dark gray, but not in full color, so it is possible to see through it. Also it has a special “window” for looking at kiosk heart – the PC built on wooden plate.

 

3D_kiosk_PC_GPU_LED_lights

 

On the inner side of the glass we have installed LED bar, so the edge of the glass is shining. The light also reflects the printed pattern on the back. In our case we used gray, so the effects are not that visible.

 

3D_kiosk_with_glass_LED_lights

 

The kiosk was created for special building information (BIM) application in Estonian National Museum. There are over 10 thousand elements in this 3D model. This has been so far the largest 3D model used in 3D Wayfinder. When on high end laptop the application is running on around 5 FPS, then in this kiosk it is more than 15 FPS. More detailed overview of the BIM application is coming soon.

Glass was created by Glasstech and kiosk frame was designed and manufactured by Hecada.

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Faster loading of 3D projects

April 25, 2017

We have changed the logic of initializing POI data in 3D Wayfinder. This gives up to 80% faster project initialization for medium and large projects. In very large projects, the increase is even larger – more than 90%.

After data is loaded from the API 3D Wayfinder system had to setup the 3D scene. That also included generating polygons and textures for each POI. These included a POI icon or the name of the POI on a billboard (facing the user all the time). POIs without icons needed to have the name displayed but the only way to display a text in 3D space is to generate or load a image. So we used a canvas element to draw these names. But this is a costly procedure.

 

Now we create only these images that are flagged as “Always visible” at the start. So the startup time is a lot faster. Check the following comparison table.

 

Project Before After Setup Gain Total Gain
Medium 765 ms 174 ms 77,25% 5.63%
Large 6563 ms 1039 ms 84,17% 11.52%
Very large 26710 ms 403 ms* 6627% 54.86%

 

* Project doesn’t have any “Always visible” POIs

 

Initialization time before and after change compared with medium and Large projects:

wayfinder_loading_speed_increased_grapgh

 

Initializing is only a part of the whole loading. Loading the data and 3D models from server is another component of the whole loading process, so the afterall loading process is better about 5-55% (with connection 20Mb/s).

 

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Accordion path animation

March 20, 2017

New feature we have added for wayfinding applications is accordion style floors when using path animation. This means, that all floors will be visible on the screens when showing the path through multiple floors.

In 3D Wayfinder you will see all floors as they exist in real building, so they are just simplified 3D models of the real floor-plans. When switching between floors, new floors will drop into scene on top of the previous floors or fly away, if going downward with the path. All floors are exactly covering previous ones, so basically whole 3D building models are sliced by floors.

Now it is possible to keep the floor plans apart from each other, so you can see all floors at the same time. This is useful mainly for wayfinding, so it is easy to remember the whole route. But we will definitely develop this “accordion” mode further, so it can be used also in other applications. For example in BIM applications, it is possible to highlight objects in all floors at the same time. Or visualize the whole factory with multiple floors or create multi-layer metro station animations.

Animation_floor_animation_in_3D_wayfinder_optimize

Currently the distance between floors is configured under settings. In future we will add features for separating the floors by dragging the floor-buttons apart. This makes the browsing of 3D buildings much more flexible.

To use this accordion style path animation, go to Settings in Administration panel. Then find Path->3D->Leave a offset between floors. For example use 50 as an offset, and then see how it looks.

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New responsive template for 3D Wayfinder

March 7, 2017

New template is now available for all 3D Wayfinder users. Template called “Iglu” is responsive HTML5 based template for 3D Wayfinder with clean and modern design. It is open-source and uses our newest AngularJS framework based template.

There is a new default template for all 3D Wayfinder projects and it’s called Iglu. Currently this template can only be used to view 3D projects, but rest assured we’re working on the 2D version as well. The 2D template will have exact same layout and styles as the 3D version. The main feature of this new template is the use of AngularJS, but in addition to this there is one more major feature being added and it is responsiveness. This means that it can be viewed in both portrait and landscape mode and it will look good on all ranges and sizes of displays, be it a 55” kiosk screen or a 5” smartphone with WebGL support.

3D_Wayfinder_iglu_template_landscape_tablet

The template has three main sections which are the header, the map and the menu. The header has the building logo and button for activating the navigation menu. Below the header is the map that has map controls on it: floor buttons, zoom buttons, shortcut buttons.

3D_Wayfinder_iglu_template_potrait_mobile_map

 

When the navigation menu is activated it will cover the right side of the map on larger screens and the whole map area on smaller screens. Currently the navigation menu has three tabs – the alphabetical listing, the category listing and search.

3D_Wayfinder_iglu_template_potrait_mobile_directory

Our new template covers all main features, needed for wayfinding:

  • Map navigation controls
  • A-Z list of all locations
  • Categories
  • Location info
  • Search

 

Although the template suites very well for wayfinding kiosks and mobile applications, it is also good for just showing and browsing 3D architectural models.

Here can You view a demo project based on the new template:
http://static.3dwayfinder.com/projects/demo/Iglu3D/

The Iglu template is based on our 3DWayfinderNGTemplate and it is open source (Github: https://github.com/3dtech/3DWayfinderNGTemplate). The template uses 3DWayfinders AngularJS service – 3DWayfinderAngular (Github: https://github.com/3dtech/3DWayfinderAngular) – to communicate with our JavaScript Wayfinder API, so 3D Wayfinder functionality is easy to use in all AngularJS projects. The Iglu template is a clean and nice example of using AngularJS with 3D Wayfinder.

Our old default template called “default” is still available. It can be selected from menu or used direclty in wayfinder project URL: https://static.3dwayfinder.com/projects/demo/default/
Template was made in co-operation with our development partner Iglu. Iglu is a young and innovative custom software building company in Estonia. Iglu’s core-competences are UX and modern front-end development.

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Compass widget for 3D floor plans

February 15, 2017

We have added compass widget for Developers Template. Compass arrow can be shown on top of the map canvas to point to the north (or any other direction) of the 3D floor plan.

Compass is one of the tools and widgets that is needed for one of our larger building information (BIM) project. There are also other tools under development that provide building information and help work with different data related with building 3D model.3D_Wayfinder_using_compass

Compass is using 0-point of the Y-axis. It is called with Camera view-port service orbitController.  It has property currentRotation, which holds the model’s rotation data.  Needle of compass is animated using that data.
Compass example is integrated into Development template. Template can be accessed via the administration panel at admin.3dwayfinder.com when selecting the view with template “DevTemplate”.

When using compass, it is important to notice, that the 3D floorplan has to be modelled north pointing to Z axis. Otherwise you need to make adjustments in widget’s javascript code, which calculates the compass’ position.

 

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15% performance gain for larger 3D floor plans

January 31, 2017

We have improved our 3D rendering engine. Thanks to better memory management we got 10..20% performance increase in FPS with larger 3D models.

 

We updated our WebGL javascript engine – FRAK – in 3D Wayfinder. Many memory management functions have been improved in the new version. With the new FRAK engine 3D Wayfinder provides better loading speed performance for larger 3D models, that use more memory. With smaller 3D models, the increase in speed is not noticeable.

Testing with one really large shopping mall floor plan we got increase in performance in average 15%. In idle mode we recorded 16 frames per second (FPS) increase, jumping from 44 FPS to 50 FPS. While actively showing path we recorded a 7 FPS increase, jumping from 38 FPS to 45 FPS. In normal use, 3D Wayfinder is limited to 30 frames per second.

 

3D_wayfinder_webGL_performance_gain

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